On 30 November 2015, Étienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy, invited Member States of the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) to discuss cooperation between the two organisations. In its dual role as President of the Council of the European Union and Co-President, together with its Swiss counterpart, of the European Space Agency's Ministerial Council, Luxembourg is in a prime position to promote closer cooperation between the EU and the ESA. Étienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy, took the opportunity offered by this dual role to restart dialogue at European level and create fresh impetus with a view to increased cooperation between the EU and the European Space Agency.
New rules on export credits to coal-fired power plants, developed within an OECD framework, have been endorsed by the EU. This is an important EU contribution for the COP21 negotiations on climate change, which start in Paris on 30 November 2015. It marks a further step in work ongoing since 2012 in aligning export credit policies with climate change objectives. The participants to an arrangement on officially supported export credits agreed a sector understanding on coal-fired electricity generation projects on 17 November 2015. The Council endorsed the EU's position on 26 November 2015, thus allowing the EU formally to join the consensus on the new rules.
The Luxembourg Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, will be in Brussels on Friday, 27 November 2015 to chair the EU " Foreign Affairs Council " - European Union Trade. The meeting is part of preparations for the 10 th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO ) which will be held in Nairobi from 15 to 18 December 2015.
On 26 November 2015, on behalf of the Council of the European Union, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) approved a compromise agreed in trialogue with the European Parliament on a directive which aims to offer a coherent legal framework for third country citizens wishing to enter Europe legally for the purposes of research, study, internships, volunteering, student exchanges and au-pair work. Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg Minister for Immigration and Asylum and President in-office of the JHA Council, expressed his satisfaction with the agreement reached by the Luxembourg Presidency: "I am particularly pleased with this agreement which will offer more legal entry routes into the EU Member States. I am convinced about the added value of this new tool and the beneficial effects it will have. The directive will help to make the European Union more accessible and will attract more young talent to Europe, which will help us to invest in the future".
On 26 November 2015, the Deputy Prime Minister, Economy Minister Étienne Schneider will chair a meeting of the 'Energy' Council in Brussels. During the meeting several pillars of the EU's Energy Union be discussed: Energy Union governance, the new organisation of the electricity market and energy efficiency, more specifically, new product labelling.
On 25 November 2015, after intensive negotiations between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission, a deal has been struck on the proposal for a Benchmarks Regulation, subject to agreement by Member States. “The adoption of the Benchmarks Regulation will help restore confidence in the integrity of benchmarks and enhance their robustness and reliability, hence strenghtening confidence in the financial markets and preventing new manipulation scandals”, said Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance of Luxembourg and President of the Ecofin Council.
On 24 November 2015, the Council by unanimity approved the 2016 EU budget deal agreed by the Conciliation Committee on 14 November. If the agreement is also confirmed by the European Parliament on 25 November the EU budget for 2016 is adopted. The 2016 EU budget provides for €155.00 billion in total commitments. This leaves a margin of €2.3 billion under the expenditure ceiling of the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020, allowing the EU to react to unforeseen needs. The level of total payments is set at €143.89 billion. This is a 1.8% increase compared to the 2015 EU budget, taking into account the eight amending budgets.
In the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, will chair the Informal Ministerial Meetings on Territorial Cohesion and Urban Policy that will take place on 26 and 27 November 2015 in Luxembourg. Ministers will discuss on 26 November concrete actions to support territorial cohesion and their impact on overall growth and development. On 27 November, the Ministers responsible for Urban Policy will address how to support small and medium-sized cities as places of attraction and providers of essential services – from a general and a cross-border perspective.
A meeting of the Directors General of Vocational Training was held in Luxembourg on 16 and 17 November 2015 in the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Minister for National Education, Childhood and Youth, Claude Meisch, first of all referred to the complex and difficult international context relating to the refugee situation. Claude Meisch believes that it is necessary to prevent a considerable humanitarian disaster through the cooperation of all EU countries. The work of the European Training Foundation (ETF) has shown that in the countries bordering on the European Union, vocational training and education generally contribute actively and sustainably towards integration and social peace within our societies.